Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
George RR Martin: 'Pfui'. Photograph: Karolina Webb
It's not quite as gruesome as the drowning in molten gold he metes out to an unlucky character in A Game of Thrones, but George RR Martin has nonetheless threatened to "mount the head on a spike" of the unfortunate Amazon employee who shipped copies of his heavily embargoed new novel, A Dance with Dragons, early.
Out on 12 July, the 1,000-page novel, the fifth in Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, has been anticipated by fans for the last six years and is subject to a strict embargo by its publisher. Despite this, around 180 copies have been sent to readers by Amazon in Germany, according to Martin and his publisher, and spoilers have begun springing up across the internet.
"I am not happy about this. My publishers are furious. If we find out who is responsible, we will mount his head on a spike," wrote Martin on his blog. He described the situation as "a mess all around" and revealed that other retailers were now "making noises about releasing their own stocks early, using the Amazon error as a justification".
"I know that the 180 readers who got advance copies are happy about this, but I assure you, my publishers are not. And thousands of other readers are now getting spoiled, most quite inadvertently and unwillingly, as they stumble over the spoilers cropping up everywhere on the internet ... Most of those 'lucky' 180 are keeping mum, to be sure, but there are always a few jerkwads in any group, and those are the ones who cannot keep their mouths shut," said Martin. "All I can say is, pfui."